Perched high up in a settlement above the Kochi Prefecture town of Yusuhara, the Arcadian surroundings couldn’t be more perfect to catch up with author and Japanologist Alex Kerr to discuss the continued relevance of his 1996 breakout title, “Lost Japan.”

Originally published in Japanese in 1993 under the title “Utsukushiki Nihon no Zanzo,” the English edition was first released by Lonely Planet in 1996 and then again by Penguin in 2015.

“Lost Japan” is a combination of warning bell for the disappearance of a way of life that was both beautiful and ecologically friendly, and a deep dive into aspects of Japanese culture that are often closed off to all but the innermost of circles. Over the past 25 years, has anything changed?